Jim Larkin began his life like many Irish families in England in 1876, he and his family struggled to make ends meet. As one of the oldest sons in his family, he had a lot of responsibility to his relatives.
While growing up in the impoverished area of Liverpool, at the age of 7 he attended school during the early part of his days while working during the afternoon in order to help support his family. While this arrangement is almost unheard of today, during Jim Larkin’s time it was quite a common arrangement. Read more: James Larkin | Wikipedia and James Larkin | Biography
At the young age of 14, the father of Jim Larkin passed away and he was hired as an apprentice for the firm that the patriarch had previously worked for. This arrangement only lasted for 2 years as Jim Larkin was eventually dismissed from his position at the firm. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm and http://ireland-calling.com/james-larkin/
This dismissal led to Jim Larkin being unemployed for a period of around 2 years which was followed by positions as a sailor as well as a docker. It was Jim Larkin’s experience as a dock worker that inspired him to start organizing laborers to fight for their rights even after being promoted to foreman in 1903.
At a young age, Jim Larkin developed a lot of interest in socialism and later joined the infamous Independent Labour Party. Just 2 years after obtaining the position of foreman, he made the decision of joining the men on the docks during the strikes in the city of Liverpool.
While he may have been initially disappointed with being let go in his position of foreman as a result of his participation, it caused his career and life to move in a completely different direction.
His participation in the strike and subsequent dismissal piqued the interest of the National Union of Dock Labourers who offered Jim Larkin a position in their organization as a temporary organizer.
In 1906, the union made his position permanent and Jim Larkin was sent to Scotland to continue his work with the union. In Scotland, Jim Larkin was able to successfully organize the workers in Glasgow and Preston.